Hello ECU Faculty –
I hope you all had a fantastic winter break. I know I did (besides the ice storm in Boone,NC and no power for 2 days but that’s another story).
Below you will see a checklist of sorts for the beginning of the semester. Please review and email me if you have any questions. Welcome back !
- Make your course available – Be sure to do this. If you don’t your students will not see your Spring 2010 Bb site. Here is how. Control panel / Click Settings / Click Course Availability / Toggle to YES / Click Submit. You will need to do this for each of your Spring 2010 sites
- Enrollments – We will be updating Bb with enrollments multiple times each day through the drop add period.
- Course Content - If you still need the Blackboard Team to rollover content or collapse sections you can request that process here. http://ecu.edu/blackboard
- Fall 2009 Sites - I will make all of these unavailable this weekend.
- Problems - If you have any questions regarding Blackboard you can contact your Instructional Technology Consultant for local support or contact my team for phone or email support. (Matt Long – firstname.lastname@example.org / 252-328-9074 or Matt Powell – email@example.com / 252-7371264) More on this topic in a moment.
- Training - I will be announcing training over the weekend. We plan to do group training in Austin 309 and Centra training throughout the semester. If you are interested in my visiting your unit for training please email me and we will schedule a date and time.
- Bugs - If you notice any odd behaviors in Bb please report them to me. I’m working closely with systems to review these “bugs” and search for a fix with Blackboard.
- A huge thanks !! - James Cook was provided a career opportunity that he could not pass up near the end of 2009. I’m sad to report that he no longer works at ECU. He will be missed and his contributions will not soon be forgotten. If you would like to say “thanks” do so in the comments area of this blog post. His position will be filled in the coming weeks. I will keep you all posted on this subject.
Well, I guess that’s about it. I will be updating this blog site weekly with any news that I think will be helpful in your use of Blackboard. I will do my best to limit the amount of emails I send out. But, you will be getting a good amount as we launch into the Spring 2010 semester. Thanks so much and welcome back !
Blackboard 8 has made downloading and uploading your grades easier in the new Grade Center. You can choose to download all of your grades or a specific assignment and easily upload it back into Blackboard.
To download and upload the Grade Center
1. With your mouse, hover over MANAGE
2. Click on DOWNLOAD.
3. Select the criteria desired for the Grade Center download.
4. Save the Excel spreadsheet.
5. Open the spreadsheet to make appropriate changes.
6. Save the spreadsheet in the same format.
7. In Blackboard’s Grade Center, with your mouse, hover over MANAGE.
8. Click on UPLOAD.
9. Select the appropriate criteria for the upload.
Click here to watch the tutorial on downloading and uploading grades.
Blackboard 8 introduces a new feature called Grade History. This feature enables Blackboard to keep a record of every grade change made in the Grade Center by any faculty member or teacher / graduate assistant.
To view the grade history
1. Click on GRADE HISTORY.
2. By default, it shows all grade changes within the past 14 days.
3. To change the display to other date ranges, scroll to the bottom of the page and click GO.
Click here to watch a tutorial on the Grade History feature.
One of the frustrations shared by faculty was the inability to freeze the columns that contained the names of students in the gradebook. If there were a lot of assignments in the gradebook, when scrolling over, the names of the students would disappear. Blackboard 8 now has the ability to freeze columns; allowing you to always see the names of the students in the gradebook, no matter how far you scroll.
To freeze/unfreeze a grade column:
1. With your mouse, hover over MANAGE.
2. Click on ORGANIZE GRADE CENTER.
3. Place your mouse over the shaded region of any row you want to freeze.
4. Click on the region and drag it above the gray bar at the top of the page.
5. Click on the SUBMIT button at the bottom to save changes.
Click here to watch the freezing / unfreezing columns tutorial.
The Grade Center allows faculty to email students instead of navigating outside of it. This can be helpful in on-the-fly email notifications to select students.
To email within the Grade Center:
1. Place a check beside each student you want to send a message to.
2. With your mouse, hover over the EMAIL button.
3. Click on the first link, EMAIL SELECTED USERS.
4. Provide a subject and message to send to the selected users.
Click here to watch a tutorial on emailing within the Grade Center.
Creating and moving grade columns is different in Blackboard 8. In Blackboard 7, you simply changed the number order of how you wanted the columns displayed in the gradebook. Blackboard 8 introduces the ability to drag and drop columns into its appropriate order.
To add a column and enter a grade
1. Click on ADD GRADE COLUMN.
2. Fill out the information on the page for your new assignment.
3. When you are ready to enter grades, click on the cell for the student receive the grade once.
4. Type in the grade and press enter.
Click here to watch the columns and grade tutorial.
Students can be exempted from a grade from the Grade Center page or the Grade Details page. When a grade has been exempted, it will display an exempted icon in the cell of the exempted grade. Comments can be added to any exempted grade. Faculty can drop students’ lowest grade by selecting that grade to be exempted.
Blackboard 8 gives you flexibility in the gradebook by allowing you to exempt grades. This useful for dropping grades. When a grade is exempted, an icon will appear in the cell for that student and assignment; displayed as a shaded square.
To exempt grades:
1. Go to a cell for an assignment that has been graded.
2. Make sure you place the mouse pointer to the specified student’s grade until a arrow appears.
3. Click on the arrows and select exempt grade.
Click here to watch a tutorial on exempting grades.
Blackboard 8 introduces a new icon legend in the Grade Center. This tutorial will introduce the new icons and compare them to what you currently know in Blackboard 7.
Here is an explanation of what each icon represents in the Grade Center:
User Unavailable – student is unable to access the course; instructor will rarely see this icon because all student drops are done automatically.
Column Not Visible to Users – students are unable to see the grade column in their gradebook.
Completed – symbol that displays if an assignment is set to display as COMPLETE/ INCOMPLETE or if a survey is completed.
Needs Grading – shown if a student uploaded an assignment that needs to be graded or if a test had essay/short essay questions.
Grade Modified Manually – shown if a grade has been changed or overrode.
Attempt in Progress – replaced the lock icon; shown if a test or assignment is in progress.
External Grade – although displayed, it will not be used at ECU, please disregard this icon.
Grade Exempted for this User – shown if a grade has been exempted.
Error – shown if Blackboard is having an error with the grade entered; rarely seen.
Click here to view the icon legend tutorial.
In Blackboard 8, as an instructor, you now have the option of hiding users form the Grade Center. Hidden users are not removed from the Grade Center and can be shown at any time. Users that are set to “hide” are grayed out in the ORGANIZE GRADE CENTER section under MANAGE.
To show/hide users, follow these steps below:
1. With your mouse, hover over the MANAGE button.
2. Click on the SHOW / HIDE USERS button.
3. Place a check beside each student you want to show or hide.
4. With your mouse, click on the appropriate button; SHOW USER or HIDE USER (whichever action you wish to perform).
Click here for show / hide users tutorial.
This button allows you to switch between the two available grade center views. The interactive view is the default view that allows inline editing of grade entries and the ability to freeze and unfreeze columns. The non-Interactive simplistic view and does not allow inline grade editing or the ability to freeze /unfreeze of columns. This view is designed for accessibility and is for screen readers. It also allows keyboard usage.
To toggle between interactive view / non-interactive view, follow the steps below:
1. With your mouse, hover of the button located at the far right end.
2. Wait for the screentip to display, letting you know to switch between the views.
Click for interactive / non-interactive view tutorial.